Google Buzz Gives Away $8.5 Million

buzzDo you remember that Google was sued for privacy violations when they first released their Google Buzz? I’d forgotten all about it. Buzz was introduced in February of this year and was considered Google’s answer to Facebook and Twitter.

During the first few days, Buzz revealed users personal contacts by default, and many people were very upset about this violation. They soon corrected the problem by offering more controls over the information shared, and an easy way to opt out of the service, but the law suit continued despite this change.

Today, I received an email from Google, announcing a settlement for this class action suit.   Here’s what they said:

Google rarely contacts Gmail users via email, but we are making an exception to let you know that we’ve reached a settlement in a lawsuit regarding Google Buzz (http://buzz.google.com), a service we launched within Gmail in February of this year.

Shortly after its launch, we heard from a number of people who were concerned about privacy. In addition, we were sued by a group of Buzz users and recently reached a settlement in this case.
The settlement acknowledges that we quickly changed the service to address users’ concerns. In addition, Google has committed $8.5 million to an independent fund, most of which will support organizations promoting privacy education and policy on the web. We will also do more to educate people about privacy controls specific to Buzz. The more people know about privacy online, the better their online experience will be.

Just to be clear, this is not a settlement in which people who use Gmail can file to receive compensation. Everyone in the U.S. who uses Gmail is included in the settlement, unless you personally decide to opt out before December 6, 2010. The Court will consider final approval of the agreement on January 31, 2011. This email is a summary of the settlement, and more detailed information and instructions approved by the court, including instructions about how to opt out, object, or comment, are available at http://www.BuzzClassAction.com.

I would guess that the lawyers are the only ones making money on this deal. That’s true of many class action suits. I’d be surprised if any of the defendants collect a penny. So far, the money is going to (non-profit?) organizations to help them educate people on privacy issues.

I think this loss is a win for Google. It’s hard to imagine that losing a few million dollars hurts them. It may help them, as long as they keep this privacy lesson in mind when they release a new product.

I enjoy using Google Buzz more than Twitter or Facebook, and encourage you to give Buzz a try. Here’s my Buzz timeline as an example of what you can do there.


Samsung Denies Nexus Two Rumors

The whole of the Internet world is talking about the highly anticipated Google experience phone – dubbed as Nexus Two – to be unveiled by Samsung on November 8th. However, a Korean website is reporting that an official Samsung spokesperson has claimed that the news is simply not true.I personally don’t think that the entire buzz around the Nexus Two from Samsung is false. clip_image001

I highly doubt the credibility of this news posted by the Korean site danawa.com. After all, why would a Samsung spokesperson tell this big’ piece of news to a Korean site, instead of many big blogs like Engadget and Gizmodo?

If this news does turn out to be true, then we can be pretty assured that the Continuum is the only phone to be launched by Samsung on November 8th. And no, it’s not going to be a Google experience phone.

[Rumor] Google Loses Its Maps and Wave Ninja to Facebook

Google took a giant leap of faith when it launched Wave. Wave was one of those features that fell a few inches short of fame because the world was not ready for it. Now, it is finally being made to RIP. Another service from Google Maps has risen in popularity and has undoubtedly become the best service in is niche. Fact is both these service teams were led by  Lars Rasmussen. However, Google has recently lost Rasmussen and word is he is headed to Facebook.

The speculations of him joining Facebook have been fueled by the fact that Lars Rasmussen has made this announcement on Facebook itself. However, both Facebook and Google have not replied on this matter or announced the matter themselves. Facebook’s response on this matter stands as,

As matter of policy, we do not comment on potential employees until they start.

That means, he might start soon and Facebook will make an official announcement only then. This can be a score for Facebook over Google as Facebook can make use of some location and maps services now to make its social network service better. We will wait to see what Rasmussen cooks up at Facebook.

(Source)

Rumor: Samsung Set to Announce Google Nexus Two on November 8

Google-Nexus-TwoGoogle Nexus One might have been a commercial flop; however, it succeeded in securing a special place in the hearts of Android lovers, due to its combination of excellent hardware with open and no-nonsense software. The Nexus One became “the” phone to own for Android enthusiasts thanks to its quick updates, vanilla Android OS and unlocked bootloader. Unfortunately, Google’s direct online purchase model bombed, leading Eric Schmidt (CEO, Google) to remark that Google will not be selling phones in the future. However, according to latest rumors floating around, this might not entirely be true.

According to Android and Me, the Nexus Two exists and is coming soon. Samsung will reportedly unveil the Nexus Two in a press event being held on November 8. Radio Android also picked up the same information through an anonymous tipster. The available information suggests that the new device will be called the Nexus S, and as far as hardware is concerned, will be identical to the Samsung Galaxy S series of phones. This means that it will sport a 4-inch SAMOLED screen and will be powered by a Hummingbird processor.

The real differentiating factor will be the software. The Nexus S is expected feature the vanilla flavor of Gingerbread (Android 3.0/2.3). Additionally, like the Nexus One, it will also have an unlocked bootloader that will facilitate the installation of custom ROMs.

As you might expect, neither Samsung nor Google is willing to confirm or deny the speculations. Samsung has only confirmed that it will be announcing a new Android phone on November 8. According to the DroidGuy’s sources, the handset being launched by Samsung will not be the successor to Nexus One. Nevertheless, we are keeping our fingers crossed. Either way, if you are thinking about purchasing a new Android phone, we highly recommend that you wait for a few more days before making a decision.

PayPal ‘Unofficially’ Announces Android Market Payment Support

One of the most awaited requests of Android users is going to come true soon and I mean real soon. Google is soon going to allow users to purchase applications from the Android market and pay for them using PayPal. As of now, PayPal has not made this piece of news official. Someone however did publish the official announcement on PayPal’s blog before pulling it back.

Here is a screenshot of the official blog post before it was pulled back :

Google_PayPal

PayPal is the biggest internet bank’ with over 90million satisfied as well as un-satisfied customers. This move from Google and PayPal will surely help in increasing the sale of paid apps on the Android market and reduce piracy.

Along with this, PayPal has also added support for purchasing applications from the Apple’s AppStore and Blackberry App World.

Dell Working On An Android Version Of Venue Pro

Folks over at PC World report that Dell is working on an Android version of the Dell Venue Pro handset. The Dell Venue Pro sports a full portrait QWERTY keyboard and a 4.1-inch WVGA display. The Venue Pro sports a 1GHz Snapdragon processor along with 1GB of internal memory and 512MB of RAM. The back of the handset sports a 5MP camera as well.Dell_Venue_Pro

The early hands-on review of the device from Engadget and other popular tech blogs suggest that the phone has a pretty darn good QWERTY keyboard. The Dell Venue Pro runs on the WP7 OS from Microsoft. The handset was announced by Microsoft and Dell two weeks ago and will hit the retail stores in two weeks from now. The handset is available on Amazon.co.uk for pre-order for £499.99/$696.

As of now, Dell only has one Android handset the Streak. The Android version of Venue Pro will be a worthy addition to Dell’s line-up of Android handsets.

Via – PC World

Google Hits a Technical Snag: Stops Updating its Index

GoogleIt won’t be an exaggeration to claim that Google Search drives most of the world wide web. Look around, and you will see that Google is the biggest (often by a large margin) source of traffic for a majority of the websites. So what will happen if Google breaks? Just the thought alone is enough to scare me as a webmaster.

Thankfully, Google has performed with admirable reliability over the years. However, it’s not easy managing the beast that is Google. Little technical snags are bound to occur, and it appears that Google has just hit one. According to reports, Google has stopped indexing numerous blogs and even popular websites, over the past few days. In other words, new content from several websites have stopped appearing in Google Search.

Google’s John Mueller confirmed the there is a technical problem that is preventing Google from efficiently indexing some websites. Here’s the message he posted in one of the Google Webmaster Central discussions.

I just wanted to provide a short update. This issue should be resolved soon, but it will take a several days for everything to catch up and for these changes to be visible. I’ll provide another update after the weekend.

In the meantime, there’s no need to make any changes on your side. Content from your sites will continue to be indexed during this time (though perhaps at the moment not as quickly as before in some cases).

Mueller has also clarified that the problem is entirely technical and not due to a change in Google’s algorithm.

I’ve been in contact with the indexing and diagnostics teams since your initial reports — we are taking your reports seriously and doing what is necessary to resolve this problem as soon as possible. We love sending users to your sites quickly after you have published something too :-).

Just to be clear, the issues from this thread, which I have reviewed in detail, are not due to changes in our policies or changes in our algorithms; they is due to a technical issue on our side that will be visibly resolved as soon as possible (it may take up to a few days to be visible for all sites though). You do not need to change anything on your side and we will continue to crawl and index your content (perhaps not as quickly at the moment, but we hope that will be resolved for all sites soon). I would not recommend changing anything significantly at this moment (unless you spot obvious problems on your side), as these may result in other issues once this problem is resolved on our side.

Gingerbread aka Android 3.0 Arrives at Google

Google has been preparing for 3.0 aka which will probably be released in the next few weeks. Though there is no real release date available for Gingerbread yet, it has officially arrived at Google.

Gingerbread Statue

Yes, the real Gingerbread giant has arrived at Googleplex today in the form of a huge statue. The video of the arrival was posted on the  Android Developers blog. Take a look at it in the embedded video below.

(Source: TechCrunch)

Google Music Is Now Available In India

Finally we have some good news! Google Music is now available in India. However it is currently limited to only Hindi songs from Bollywood. To power Google Music in India, Google has teamed up with three online music services in India in.com, saavn and saregama. All the songs are directly streamed from these partner websites. Try Google Music now: http://www.google.co.in/music

The songs available are all full versions via free streaming. But here is no option to purchase a song as of yet which is a bit weird. But we expect an option to purchase to be available soon. Another much needed feature would be a Playlist which currently does not exist. A couple of months back, the executives of Guruji Search were arrested for launching a similar Music product.

Image courtesy

Video Of Gingerbread ‘Screen Off’ Animation Surfaces

The folks over at Phandroid have managed to get their hands on a video of Gingerbread running on the Nexus One. The video is only ten seconds long and shows an animation which occurs when the screen is turned off. The animation is something similar to the effect which happens when users used to switch off their old tube TVs back in the 80-90s.

Here is the Gingerbread Screen Offanimation video I am talking about -:

Of course, the above animation is nothing stellar but nevertheless it does have a cool’ factor to it (at least, I do). As of now, no version of Android or any Custom ROM has this sort of animation when turning the screen off.

With Gingerbread announcement around the corner, I am sure more videos of it in action will be popping up on the Internet.